(John Del Signore) After more than forty years of construction, Mayor Bloomberg announced the official completion of the Manhattan stretch of Water Tunnel No. 3, a 13-mile-long tunnel that runs from Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers, south through the Bronx, and into Manhattan, eventually heading on through Roosevelt Island and into Astoria, Queens. Photographer Tod Seelie ventured down into one of the secret Main Valve Chambers 200 feet below the street for an illegal party press conference today, and resurfaced with this sweet infrastructure porn.

$4.7 billion well-spent! The city maintains it's crucial to have a third water tunnel in case the other two fail or need maintenance, and the massive project—which was first proposed in 1954—provides "crucial infrastructure redundancy," enabling Water Tunnel No. 1 to be taken offline and inspected. THAT tunnel has been carrying water to NYC from upstate reservoirs since 1917! Tunnel No. 2 has been in continuous service since 1936. By the way, here are some more heavy tunnel facts:

  • Tunnel No. 3 is lined with nearly 3 million cubic feet of concrete.
  • The new tunnel has claimed the lives of over 24 people in its construction.
  • The water tunnels sit roughly 500 feet below street level and vary in diameter between 10-24 feet.
  • 82 million cubic feet of soil and rock has been excavated for Tunnel No. 3 so far—enough to fill Madison Square Garden more than 200 times.
  • The Bloomberg administration dedicated $2.7 billion towards the construction of Water Tunnel No. 3, more than the five previous Mayoral Administrations combined.

Read More: Gothamist

Photo Credit: Getty Images